Purpose:

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is an uncommon salivary gland cancer with no approved therapies available to treat advanced, incurable disease. Recent molecular profiling efforts have identified two important subtypes: the more aggressive ACC-I is characterized by Notch pathway alterations and MYC amplification whereas ACC-II demonstrates a more indolent phenotype and TP63 overexpression.

Experimental Design:

This retrospective observational cohort study involved de-identified samples from 438 patients with ACC with tumor samples sent for commercially-available molecular profiling (Caris Life Sciences). Next-generation whole-exome and whole-transcriptomic sequencing was performed on primary and metastatic samples. Immunostaining for PD-L1 and RNA deconvolution (quanTIseq) was used to explore the tumor immune microenvironment (TME). Real-world clinical and survival outcome metrics were extracted from insurance claims data.

Results:

MYC expression was 1.61-fold higher (39.8 vs. 24.7; P < 0.0001) among NOTCH1-mutant ACC-I tumors, whereas MYB/L1 fusion rates were similar among ACC-I/II. The median B-cell fraction in the TME was higher among ACC-II (7.1% vs. 5.8%; P < 0.01), although infiltrating T cells subsets were low among either ACC subgroup (both <1%). When pooling systemic treatment categories, ACC-I patients had worse outcomes with available therapies (HR, 3.06; 95% confidence interval, 1.65–5.68; P < 0.01), with no significant difference in overall survival between ACC-I/II based on chemotherapy or VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor exposure in smaller subsets.

Conclusions:

We confirmed the previously reported associations with MYC and TP63 in the prognostically relevant subgroups of ACC-I and -II, respectively, and report immunologic differences among these subtypes. Survival outcomes are comparatively worse in ACC-I regardless of treatment type.

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